Gaia Towns is an online, flash-based chat game that enables real-time conversation between multiple people, it was released to the Gaian public on October 26, 2005. What makes it unique is the visual representation of each user's avatar, which can be moved about the screen by the simple expedient of clicking one's desired destination a notable feature is the Gaia Standard Time, which indicates changes of day to night. Throughout the world of Gaia Towns are houses, each owned by an individual Gaian. Users can enter these houses and utilize it as a variation of a private chat room.
When Gaia Towns is opened (through either Community > Towns or Games > Towns), the user appears in the Barton Trainstation, where four Gaia NPCs are walking around. A user can then click on each NPC to explain a different aspect of the hangout. Ian introduces the rest of the NPCs walking around, in addition to explaining basic navigation. Of the other NPCs, Rina explains how to change the avatar from standing to sitting (simply click the silhouette of an avatar in the bottom right corner of the screen), Moira outlines the use of emotes (click the desired emote in the top right corner), and Leon warns the user of attempted password grabs and how to use the chat interface and chat history.
The Gaia Towns layout is relatively simple. To move from map to map, one can either click on the edge of the screen near the white arrow, or click the 'Navigate' button at the top of the screen, beneath the blue globe. From the Navigation menu, a neighborhood can be selected at will. Each neighborhood contains four screens with houses, two without, and a central gathering place. Each housing screen has six houses. Clicking the desired screen will bring the user's avatar to it.
Each central screen is dominated by a large fountain with four lions facing to each cardinal direction rimming a center structure that has a small bird perched on top. During the summer, this is usually replaced by a pool. This is typically where users congregate, the most popular central screen being at 001000, the first neighborhood in Towns.
Main article: Gaia Homes One of the original allures of Gaia Towns was the housing aspect, where a user could visit the Housing Commission in Aekea and obtain the rights to a house, choosing amongst three variations of a floor layout.
The houses themselves serve as another extension for Gaian expression, as one can visit The Faktori in Aekea and purchase furniture, wallpaper and carpeting for one's home. Additional, rarer housing items can be found through the reception of a rare event.
Users can then enter their houses in the Art Arena and compete for the most aesthetically pleasing layout for a prize in gold. Over 50,000 is given out each week.
At the moment, there are no free houses available, however there are plans in place for the release of more housing space to accommodate the entire Gaian populace.
The Town Directory, accessed by clicking the Navigation button marked by a blue globe, represents all of Gaia Towns. It is split up using a grid fashion, with each square, or neighborhood, receiving a number that starts at 001000. Each neighborhood contains nine screens, with a number designation of 1-9, starting at the top left and proceeding in a left to right fashion. Each housing screen contains six houses, which are also numerically designated from 1-6, in the same fashion.
Main article: :Category:Gaia Exchange Scattered throughout Gaia Towns is a plethora of insects, flowers, and trash. Previously, these were collected through means of buying a Shovel from Barton Flowershoppe for flowers, and a Bug Catching Net from The Ole Fishing Hole for insects. After an update, though, users were no longer required to possess those items and could simply collect items by clicking on them.
Also in the past, collected items had to be deposited to one's inventory through the use of three Bots that stood every central screen of a neighborhood. Now, users can send their acquired game items by clicking on the red bag (located the lower right-hand part of the screen, on the same bar as the directory) and clicking on the small robot after the bag opens to display the acquired game items.
For a majority of the months the town is in a default setting, but during certain seasons of the year, Gaia Towns will go through a makeover to match the current season of the real world.
In Summer the town will take on a summer setting, piles of sand with colorful shells replace rocks and flowering plants replace bushes. The homes and trees are decorated with colorful balloons and banners. In the middle square there will be a large pool and small pool that is surrounded by lounge chairs and torches, included in the corner is a shack where water balloons and squirt guns will be available to play with.
In Autumn the town will take on a autumn setting, piles of leaves replace rocks and the trees will be bare. As the date nears to Halloween, the homes and trees are decorated with pumpkins and various Halloween related motif. In the middle square there will be a cemetery, while in this setting toilet paper and eggs will be available to play with. And during the Halloween Event, Jack will be found in the cemetery.
In Winter the town will take on a winter setting, snowmen replace rocks and the trees will be covered with a snow cap. The homes are decorated with lights and various Christmas related motif. In the middle square there will be a frozen pond, Gaians can move across this as if they were skating, included in the corner is a shack where snowballs will be available to play with.
Events & Other usesEdit
Though now rarely used to hold events besides Halloween, the town events would be used to expand on site events. During the feud with Santa Claus, his mecha form was seen wandering around the middle square handing out gifts. When the Zurg were making themselves known, UFO's would occasionally appear and cover Gaians with a bright light. During Gaia's first St. Patrick's Day event by walking to various squares, clovers could be collected for prizes.
Some sponsors made use of the towns by having Gaians interact with the involvement and NPCs present during the sponsorship.
Unfortunately, due to the near-impossibility of moderating the thousands of houses that are currently in place, cybering is rampant amongst the houses. Two users can simply pick a house at random and enter at will, indulging themselves with little to no fear of being caught. However, it's possible to lock a house so this act cannot occur. There are no current proposals to prevent this from happening, although there are Gaians who form groups to report and at least reduce the problem.